Suspected human smugglers reportedly led authorities on a high-speed chase that ended with a fatal crash Thursday in the same Texas city where the infamous migrant death truck passed through an immigration checkpoint earlier in the week.
A vehicle believed to be carrying migrants was being chased by Border Patrol agents when it veered out of control and slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer in Encinal, TV station KHOU 11 reported.
Four people were killed and three were injured in the collision near the Love’s truck stop on Route 44, Encinal police said.
Encinal cops who responded to a Border Patrol request for assistance saw the “suspect vehicle” race off I-35 and smash into the tractor-trailer, which wasn’t moving, Police Chief Pablo Balboa III said in a prepared statement.
A photo posted online by KHOU appeared to show a mangled white Jeep amid the wreckage.
The speeding driver was among those killed and the injured were flown by helicopter to local hospitals, police said.
On Monday, a truck carrying 64 migrants in its sweltering trailer passed through the Border Patrol checkpoint in Encinal, with a surveillance camera allegedly catching Homero Zamorano, 45, grinning as he leaned out of the driver’s seat.
That truck was later abandoned in a remote area of San Antonio, with authorities finding “stacks of bodies” inside and a total of 48 dead.
The death toll now stands at 53 of the 64 migrants who were packed into the trailer and Zamorano — who was reportedly “very high on meth” when nabbed nearby — faces a federal human smuggling charge that could result in the death penalty.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has repeatedly blamed the horrific incident on President Biden, saying Wednesday that the trailer wasn’t inspected in Encinal “because the Border Patrol does not have the resources to inspect all the trucks and as a result, the Border Patrol did not have the capability of saving those lives.”
Abbott also said he would “immediately” set up new, state-run checkpoints to inspect trucks for migrant-smuggling operations and deploy two “strike teams” to scour the highways for trucks carrying migrants and search out smugglers’ “stash houses.”